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Israel flags Iranian UAV bases, offers counter-measures to Arab allies

FILE PHOTO: Israeli cabinet meeting in Jerusalem
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz walks past the media during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, August 1, 2021. Abir Sultan/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

November 23, 2021

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel sharpened its rhetoric against Iranian combat drones on Tuesday, disclosing what it said were two bases used to carry out maritime attacks with the remote-controlled planes and offering to cooperate with Arab partners on counter-measures.

Gulf Arab countries share Israeli concerns about such drones, seeing the hand of Iran or its allies in aerial attacks on shipping or on energy facilities in Saudi Arabia. Tehran has often denied such allegations.

“Today I reveal to you two central bases in the area of Chabahar and Qeshm island in south Iran, from which operations in the maritime arena were launched, and where today, too, advanced Shahed attack drones are deployed,” Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz told a televised security conference.

Separately, the chief of Israel’s air force proposed working with Arab partners – such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, with which Israel formalised ties last year – against the drone threat.

“It think that this is a great opportunity to create contacts and to build a defence plan for all the countries that have a common interest in protecting themselves,” Major-General Amikam Norkin told the conference, hosted by Reichman University.

“We can help significantly (against drones), whether in terms of intelligence, detection or interception.”

(Writing by Dan WilliamsEditing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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